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Race report thread



  • Registered Users Posts: 4,377 Mod ✭✭✭✭ pgibbo

    Excellent report Misty Floyd. Congrats on a great run yesterday.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,340 ✭✭✭ TFBubendorfer

    Great report, Misty Floyd. I must have been very close to you at times, finished just under 3:25 after speeding up over the last 2 miles.

    I already linked to my own race report on a different thread, here it is again.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,598 ✭✭✭ shels4ever

    Was told to post this race report from a friend, makes good reading...His first marahon and coming from a swimming background gave it a good lash, He sends along his thanks to the pacers.. even if he was too close to the 3:00 pacers for the first half... I can see this guy going close to 3 horus in his next marathon if he decided to focus on it.

    Hi all,

    Well, we're finished. I've attached a long race report for all your reading pleasure. It's not been proof read etc. so leave me alone re: spelling and tenses (Paul). Suffice to say, this was the single most difficult thing I've ever done, yet. This is a good read for anyone considering doing it next year, as it will either swing you one way or the other ;)

    Training and Targets
    Training started in real earnest after the 10 miler in August. It went better then expected with long runs at the weekends and ~3 runs at mid week. I stopped cycling fairly soon as my calfs were at me for the long runs. Running was fun! For the race series, I got around the 10 miler in 1:16, and the half marathon in 1:34. Both those runs were tough but I was getting fitter all the time. A different sort of fitness to what I was used to though, as I went for a swim at one stage and couldn't believe how weak I was! My bulk, including any muscle that was still left was disappearing. We did two 18s, a 20 and a 22 miler as long slow runs, but we're not sure on the distance of the bigger ones, my footpod has been playing up recently.

    Based on the race series, I was confident of a 3:20 but had my secret goal set at 3:15. I foolishly set 3:30 as my absolute latest I should come in at. What I've learned since the marathon however is to forget about times completely. Finishing the marathon comes first, and while pacing is essential, finishing times are not. If anyone is to take any advise from this, let it be to relax on your first marathon and take it easy!

    Race Day
    Our darling daughter woke us at around 5am on the 26th, she was still refusing to comply with the daylight savings rules. I was too excited to stay asleep anyway, I was mentally going through the contents of my bag and my short pockets. I got up and brought Soapie downstairs after Sel had bottled her. I had my 3 weetabix topped up with a layer of cheerios that I had prepared the night before. It was 6:40, perfectly timed breakfast for a 9am run according to the literature I had read. I started sipping on a lucozade sport, jumped in the shower and got dressed, "no need to tie the laces yet" I thought.

    My watch said 'Marathon today' on the display, ominous! I threaded my carefully crafted 3:15 pace planner around the strap of my watch wondering how useful it would be. I stuck plan B (3:20) and plan C (3:30) pace planners in my back pocket, I hoped I wouldn't need them. I had 10 jelly babies wrapped in bunches of two, and half a packet of dextrose tablets. I spread them between my two side pockets but they felt uncomfortable. I ate two jelly babies.

    Go tobann, thainig an.... Dee's car pulled up outside, it was 7:20, time to go. I hadn't been keeping an eye on the time, I hadn't devoted enough time to my family! I gave my wife and daughter a rushed goodbye, I wouldn't see them until mile 18.5 at Milltown. No time for emotion, too nervous for that anyway. Quick mental check, runners, footpod, watch, dextrose, drinks, number chip.... good. The car journey was fine, not much traffic, we passed marathon people walking from Clontarf station, we decided they were insane, isn't 26.2 miles enough? Anna kept my mind off things, we played peekabo in the back while XXX and XXX plotted a safe route close to Merion Square and back to Beaupark.

    We walked around to the Davenport via Pearse street train station. This was around about the 25.5 mile point. I pondered about reaching here in good shape later today, Alan concurred, the gods chuckled. I tripped on my laces. The Devenport was full of athletes eating breakfast and sipping drinks. Did I eat too early? Have I drank enough? Where's the toilet? How come these skinny fit looking guys have blue bibs and mine is gold? Why did I put sub 3:30 on the entry sheet? Why does everyone keep standing on my laces? Johnny Donnolly (Run Johnny Run) turned up and his devoted followers gathered for a group photo at the finish line. It was 8:20, I had other things to do, I found out other people had the same thing on their minds, there was a long orderly queue formed for the cubicles. I lubed up while waiting in the queue, doubling up on the nipples.

    I met Alan posing for the 'Run Johnny Run' photo on the way to leave in our baggage. Ray D'Arcy had just arrived after holding up procedures. I presume I'll beat Ray? What about Johnny? We moved off to the baggage area, it was well organised and well laid out. Plenty of porta-loos etc. There were hundreds of people stretching and lubing. Plenty of other people decided to stand on my laces. I'd had enough of that, the trousers came off and the shoe laces were tied, and then untied and tightened and tied, and then finally double tied. We dropped the bags in and went off to settle in our pen. We were in the first pen, starting directly behind the elite athletes. The sub 3:30 runners. The cream of the crop. The really tall and really skinny guys. The guys with drink belts and GPS watches and running shades and no fat. What on earth are we doing in here? 8:50 and everyone started to de-robe. Tracksuit tops and jumpers were cast to the side lines, most of which landed on a few heads before making it. The pacing balloons began making their way back to their starting points, one balloon was set free and soared into the sky, I think it was one of the 3:00 balloons. I began wondering if you could get enough lift from a balloon to aid your running, providing you with sufficient weightless-ness to.... Big cheer, the wheelchairs were off.

    Last minute nerves set in and then passed. I was OK, there were seconds to the start and I was going to be OK. I know I can run 22 miles, I've done that. I don't care about times any more! I just want to run it and be smiling for Selena and Soapie when I go by. I want to sprint up the finishing straight with my arms raised, I want to.... Bang! The gun, and we were off!

    Miles one and two were quite slow as we tried to get around traffic, the city was cheering us as we moved up O'Connell street and we broke into a comfortable pace on the stretch into Phoenix park. "It's all down hill from here" someone shouted, "I F%&kin hope so" someone retorted, "I think he means mentally" I concluded. We hit mile three and Alan reckoned we were too fast, I consulted my pace thingy and we were behind overall because of miles 1 and 2. We agreed to keep the current pace for another while. We passed Peter (Alan's brother) and Padraic (Alan's brother in law) on the sidelines, Alan noticed them and got a big shout back. Things were going well. We got some water and went through the 10K marker, very much ahead of what our pace should have been. We were still comfortable though. A nice down hill stretch took us out of the Phoenix Park and I remember thinking "We can't keep this up, can we?".

    We hit kilmainham and the pace was still very fast, but we were both very comfortable. Although Alan was finding it hard to breath because of his cold, I told him it would pass when he got warmer. In hindsight, after someone has ran 10 miles faster than they've ever done before, I don't think they'll get much warmer! We'd gone through some Spar cheer zones, they were fantastically loud. There were hundreds of people cheering, clapping and shouting at people they didn't even know. There were drums beating and people chanting. I'm not surprised we didn't slow down. Colin and Orla were at the top of Inchicore road, on the right where they said they'd be. Despite knowing this I had seconds to react when my eyes finally adjusted on Orla, Colin had less time to react and I'm surprised he managed to snap us at all! I grabbed the drink yelled a thank you and continued on at sub 3:00 pace, like a fool.

    I noticed over the next few miles that Alan wasn't on my shoulder any more, "I'm not catching up to you" he kept warning. This was probably breaking point, we were nearly at half way, we both felt good, but we were both going too fast, and we knew it. I looked back every few minutes to make sure he was there, and he always was. The last thing I remember hearing from Alan was "let's slow it down to 7:20 pace" (3:20 finish), a few minutes after that he was still behind me, and we were still doing 6:50 minute miles (2:59 finish). The road narrowed, I'd no idea where we were, someone shouted "Go on Alan", it sounded like Mark Foley, we'd past the half way point and it was a fast time, very fast: 1:36 at that stage. I thought I should slow down. There was a motorbike beside me, maybe they had water, I really needed water. I glanced over and I was staring into a camera. Sh1t3! better make this look good, glance at watch- still too fast, but I don't want to look bad on Setanta on Friday, dig in!

    I took a full bottle of water and energiser at the next station and gobbled them down, I was parched. The crowd continued to be astonishing, I took a handful of sweets from a girl with a bowl around mile 15... excellent! thank you. By mile 17, I needed to wee.... badly. I tried convincing myself it was all in my head! But it wasn't. I saw a water station and cursed the gods, for while I was thirsty, the bladder needed emptying far worse than my thirst needed quenching. I ran straight through the station to the porta-loos. I ran into the last one. What seemed like an age later, I emerged... the knees said no more, but I growned aloud and set back into my sub 3:00 pace. I presumed Alan has gone by at that stage.

    I must be in Milltown, I was thinking to myself as I felt the pace start to hurt... and then I heard noise up ahead. Noise = people, people = support + water. I'll be going past Sel and Dee soon, how soon? I've no idea. I hadn't been looking for mile markers since I noticed Alan was missing, that was a couple of miles ago. That's Alan's job not mine, I don't notice markers. I tried to think of the map, all I could think is that we hadn't gone past UCD yet. Or had we? I'd never actually known where UCD was exactly, wasn't it near RTE? No matter, there's a lady giving out water. Yoink... thank you! get it open, get it open... there's Sel! Yay, again mere milliseconds of an acknowledgement and I was away again. Thought one: I'm only at 18ish miles, though two: I can't carry a full bottle of water and this lucozade sport for ever! I downed a few mouthfuls of the lucozade and offered it to whomever could see me. It was grasped with thanks by a 'West Waterford AC' or some such runner.

    The pace fell, I glanced down and saw I was at 7:30 pace. That's not a bad pace, but I knew I couldn't hold it. People began overtaking me, I passed out a few walkers, I was envious of them. I think I need to wee again. I don't know if I did need to, but it happened. I got going again, back to 7:15 pace or so for a quarter of a mile. I think there was a hill, spectators were forcing me up it with encouragement. I fought the urge to walk and forced myself up. A guy in a beard, who must have been 60, passed me at the top- I didn't care, I'd made it, I was dying, but I made it up that hill! I had to get my breath back. "They're looking at around 3:10" I heard someone say. I was dizzy, my vision was blurry around the edges. I'll stop for a walk. I stopped. Completely. Stone dead stopped....
    I must ACTUALLY be around 20 miles in now.
    There's no way I can do another 6 miles, no way. Where am I?
    Alan's probably gone by me during one of my toilet stops.
    Thank god I don't know anyone around here. I wonder what bus I should get?
    I've no money though, can't you get a ride back from the St. John's guys?
    Haven't seen them in a while. I wonder where UCD is?...

    I got a friendly slap/push on the back, and I snapped out of it. A runner ran by shouting something backat me. It was probably encouraging, I couldn't hear anything, and I still couldn't see properly. I started walking, I think it was walking, my head was drooped to the side, I couldn't move it. Someone was beside me, a woman, with water. She was talking to me, I think. I took some water, a little more, another dextrose tablet. Why won't they let me give up? I broke into a slow jog, I said thank you to the apparition and moved back out to the center of the road. I was running again, I won't make it I thought. I ripped the pace guide from my watch and dropped it on the ground and rummaged in my back pocket for plan B and C. Plan B was discarded as well and I wedged plan C into my watch strap. "Baby steps!" some woman was shouting at a walker. "Baby steps, you'll get going again, take a rest with baby steps", I thought she was shouting at me, I looked at my legs, I was jogging. A walker, who looked like I felt was taking the advise and it seemed to be working. I hadn't noticed a marker in a while, I don't know why I was bothering with the guides at all, maybe it was a phsycological ploy to get me in gear. I wished I could stop analysing everything and trudged on. "They're looking at around 3:15" I heard somebody say at the next water stop. I wish! I thought as I finally saw a mile marker, 21.

    I've still no idea where UCD is I thought to myself as the road started being nicer to me, a slight down section. I glanced at my watch, I was still going very slow, but I was moving. "I'll just walk a few strides here, there's a pedestrian bridge, I'll run there and walk for a few meters", I finally figured that this must be UCD, this must be the UCD flyover! That means I'm on the home stretch, the spectators aren't lying! The wave of excitement caused a wave of tiredness... I didn't make it to the flyover... I noticed I was already walking. I started taking baby steps, they really worked. I wasn't getting anywhere fast but I wasn't stopped. There's the RTE tower, getting closer, slowly. Another spectator got me going again, he forced me out from the edge of the path and convinced me I was nearly there. "They're looking at around 3:20" I heard someone else say. I was jogging again, I took water at a station and didn't stop despite my legs burning and the pins and needles in my fingers. There was someone in the back of an ambulance. Would Sel prefer I finish the race knowing I couldn't have given it any more, or would she prefer me alive? I rubbished the thoughts when I heard drums in the distance, I'll walk that bit I thought, they'll get me going.

    I can't stop here! there's hundreds of spectators on the road, the gap to get through is tiny, I'll look like such a loser. Someone screamed in agony behind me, followed by a Dublin accent shout of "F*&K!" I'd just passed a hobbler, and his race was over. My knees appeared to be finished too, they couldn't take any more, they stopped. My legs kept me walking, but my knees were done. "Water?" someone appeared from nowhere by my side, "please", I nodded; he reached into a bag and took out a baby bottle of water, perfect. The same bottles that Sopie takes, the flavoured water ones. This was pure ice cold water though, I reached into my pocket to take out a dextrose tablet, all gone. "Jelly babies it is then". I downed the water and the jelly babies and let out a grunt.... I started jogging again. "Remind me not to do this next year".

    My knees were joined by my hip now, my left hip. They were in mutiny against the rest of me. The rest of my body, while neutral, were silent supporters of the mutiny started by my knees. I noticed I'd been staring at the ground, and lifted my head to take in the crowds. Bad idea, there was too much going on, I got dizzy and continued to stare into the ground. I'd seen a glimpse of a poster though and wanted to see what it said. I looked up and made eye contact with a stoney faced middle aged woman. Her sign read "DCM, No Cry Babies", my jogging broke into a mountain climb up the grand canal bridge and a smile broke out on my face. I couldn't cry if I wanted to I thought, I don't have the energy. Someone shouted at me to "toughen up" as I got over the hump of the bridge. I felt like punching whoever that was in the face there and then, I'm sure he was only trying to help!

    All sense of time / spacial awareness was gone. My vision was gone, I kept veering towards the edge of the road and I couldn't really feel my legs any more. It appeared that my body didn't join the mutiny in the end, it simply turned off it's nerves. This was a good thing as I knew everything was sore. I couldn't run straight, I couldn't even remember which way I would be going when I hit the city. I convinced myself that there was a sharp left into merrion Square at the Davenport for the finish. When I figured out this was a blatant lie, I stuttered to another walk. I couldn't believe it, I wanted to be strong here, why was I walking again. There were loads of friends and family coming up and I wanted to be coming in strong to them. Water station, lovely, I thought I might be thirsty, and a jelly baby. Now finish!

    I started plodding again, "Come on Macker!" I turned to see Alan's dad roaring me on, "looking strong", I didn't believe him, but it got me going. The finish line was only meters away but I had to go the long way round, I heard the announcer shouting at people to get them over the finish in 3:15, I wasn't doing as bad as I thought. Just over 1 mile to go? I dug in and found another bit of energy. I wasn't running, I was barely jogging, I probably looked like those guys in their eighties who you walk faster than on the beach. Selena should be here I thought, I strayed over to the left hand side of the road. I passed by Niall, neither of us noticed, I'd an excuse though! I couldn't hear anything specific, it was a wall of noise. I saw Declan, Steve, Liam and Sel! Smile! raise an arm! If I could I'd cry! I got around the corner and couldn't stop smiling, "I'm nearly home" I thought. I wondered if I could transfer energy from my smile into my legs ala star-trek re-routing power. I passed a walker, slowly, he looked deflated. I tried to convey my current high spirits to him through the use of spoken word; "Come'n" I blurted. I immediately regretted talking First off, I didn't have the energy for it, secondly, the guy probably thought I was bragging, and thirdly, I tried to say "come on, you're nearly there", I didn't even get the first two words out right.

    I turned around the front of Trinity and cursed gravity. I had never noticed that the road went up hill around to Nassau street. I struggled around the corner and tried to get a picture in my mind of how far was left. My eyes rolled a few times to the back of my head and I thought it was too far. Frantic calculations went on in my head and I figured I could walk home in a respectable 3:30, take in the crowds and even get energy for a smile and a wave. I slowed to a walk, my head slouched to the side, my route zig zagging from side to side through the small space the crowd had left. I could see people shouting at me from less than a meter away, I couldn't hear them. "Allez, Allez, Allez" someone was pushing me, he was very enthusiastic, and very French. I let him push me into a jog and tried to focus on the finish line- no sign of it yet though. There's a familiar sign, I thought- I've seen that at the other race series events, it's either 400 meters or 800 meters to go. I still don't know what it said, I ran into the ground, runners were streaming past me, I didn't care, I just wanted to finish. "Come on Macker!", Karl and Helen were on the Merrion square side. I raised an arm, and dug in. I looked up at the clock, couldn't make it out, raised two arms, smiled from ear to ear and stepped over the line. I'd made it. I stopped my watch and didn't even look, I couldn't care less. I was exhausted and chuffed and finished.

    I was guided through the finishing gates and someone ripped my tag away. I know I nearly fell there before I felt my head dropping and my eyes rolling. I was falling asleep while trying to walk! Someone wrapped a medal around my neck at the worst possible time. My head drooped and I had to force my eyes open. I was hungry. I had the sense to get a large t-shirt and grabbed a spar lunch box. Walked two feet away and fell to the ground in an "uncontrolled but I know what I'm doing" kind of way. I ate a sandwich. I took off my runners. I wondered about the blood. I wondered about getting out of the finishing area. I wondered when I'd be able to see again properly. I got up after three attempts, took another lunch box and collected my bag. It took an hour and a half to hobble over to find Sel and Soapie for a hug, still too exhausted for emotions. I went for a pint with Paul, Liam, Steve, my wife and daughter. I saw that I'd done a 3:24, I didn't care, I'd finished though, and learned that Alan did too. Didn't get to see him until that night! He had it even worse than I did over the finishing miles. I apologised for bringing us out too fast, but that's always been our way.

    The Aftermath
    Proud, happy and sore, but never again. Thanks to everyone who came along and to everyone who sent best wishes. My wife and daughter deserve a big thank you for all the work they put in, and all the work I got away with, as well as putting up with the training and the smelly socks and underpants! Thanks also to Dee and Anna for letting Alan do the same, as the training runs were hard to get motivated for, and without Alan this probably would not have happened. The Foley family record stands, that's for another day, who knows, we might break the new McDonnell one too.

    The marathon is a long tough race. When you're thinking how hard it might be, add a few more miles, and try doing it with no legs. Now, I wonder if the Wicklow 200 is tough? ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭ aero2k

    Just pasting this over from the DCM thread. I meant to post here first but the brain was obviously somewhere out around Foster's Ave...

    26th October 26 miles 385 yards.

    I wasn’t going to do this, but inspired by the efforts of others, particularly Abhainn’s epic contribution, and cajoled by Git101, I’ve decided to give it a go.

    Setting the scene…

    My training had been much more consistent, focused and intensive than last year, and despite missing some targets on the shorter races, having a short bout of illness before the half, and a pre-race week that was entirely different to what my ideal one would have been – I was in an unusually compromising mood for the last while – I felt that I could run a good race, and even had a fair chance of achieving the magical sub-3. I had spent a lot of time wishing for a few weeks reprieve, especially during the last few days, but on Saturday while cursing the heavy legs I happened to glance down to see my Garmin indicating an average pace for that mile of 6:48 – bang on PMP while I was actually on part of the marathon route – could this be an omen? The last few days disappeared under a pile of rice, pasta and pancakes, and even a last minute hint of sciatica (this had destroyed my 2002 cycling season) didn’t seem to get under my skin. In the past I would fret about such things, but on Sunday I just went to bed early (horizontal was more comfortable than sitting) and thought – maybe it’ll loosen out after a few miles…..

    The big day.

    Up at 5:15. I felt sluggish, but a cup of tea and 2 slices of white toast helped, and by the time I was halfway through the 500ml of High-5 I had mixed up to sip while having a quiet read, I felt at least as good as I felt before the Adidas half; in other words not great, and with a head full of thoughts of all the places I’d rather be and all the things I’d rather be doing. This has become such a familiar feeling before races that I’ve learned to wrap it round me like a comfort blanket. 7am and time to bring the OH breakfast in bed, 7.15 wake the little helper man (ok, he’s nearly as tall as me now), then into the race gear. Yet another trip to the bathroom, a final check that I have all I need and then jump in the car. 8am, later than intended but strangely this didn’t bother me at all, a fact the OH remarked on later.

    Dropped off at TCD front gate - next time I’ll be passing that landmark a little quicker. I walked down Nassau St and took in the 800m sign – thinking I’d need 3 1/2 minutes from there to the finish, and wondering what shape I’d be in. I strolled up to the baggage area where I met Git101, who was his usual outgoing self, though in retrospect he might have been putting on a brave face. Changed into the gear, another bathroom visit then off to the start with a quick stop in Burger King to tie the shoes a little tighter. I entered the sub 3:30 pen and started wiggling my way up to the sub-3 balloons – got some more abuse from Git101 for this! – and then ran into a solid wall of bodies. Realising that this might help prevent me starting too fast, I relaxed a little. I took my pre-race gel. I helped someone who’s chip was about to fall off, and his mate helped dispose of my bin liner and long sleeved t-shirt. It was 8:55am…..

    26 miles, 385 yards...

    When the hooter went, it almost came as a surprise. I had gone into a sort of trance – of which more later – but somehow I began to move. I resolved not to try to catch the sub-3 balloons or to look at my watch for the first few minutes, and to run at a pace that felt comfortable. I had been obsessed with the time in the lead-up to the race, in fact I was even wearing a watch as a back-up to the Garmin, and I had chosen 2:59 as the target because the 5 mile splits are easy to remember (34:09, 68:19 – I was saying 34:10 etc in my head knowing that would give me some margin for slight mishaps), but once I was underway the time didn’t seem to matter. It was more like a matter of curiosity, as in “I wonder what time I’ll get to 5 miles in” rather than “I have to get to x miles in y minutes, or die trying”. The first glance at the watch revealed 8:09 – way too slow, but it was early days, we were on a slight downhill, and the crowd was opening up gradually. I relaxed a little more and the next glance showed 7:25. A third glance showed 7:10 and it was time to ease back. My Garmin showed 6:50 for the first (Garmin) mile, unlike others I didn’t notice the first mile being short, and I was happy. I was aiming to average 6:48 per the Garmin and per the advice from the experienced boardsies. I added 4 secs in my mind and was still happy with the 6:54.

    Coming up Parnell Sq I got a bit of unexpected encouragement from a cyclist – he was on the footpath – he said I looked great which tied in with how I was feeling and what the Garmin was telling me. I ditched the water bottle I’d been carrying (to wash down the pre-race gel) and started on the contents of my hydration belt. I took a drink at the first water station and had a brief moment of “why the f*@% am I thirsty already” but then I was back into my Zen mode of “we’ll see”. Through the Park gate and I had done 6:54, 6:52, 6:47, and 6:42 for the first 4 miles, though I needed the Garmin to tell me. I had no sensation of the passage of time at all, it could have been 1 second or 10 days to get to that point, yet I was acutely aware of where I was, the route ahead, the spectators, and my fellow competitors.

    The park is the nearest I’ll ever get to racing in my own back yard, and on a good day it’s less than 2 min from my front door. Turning left after the zoo and I was now on the route where I had done many tough interval sessions albeit in the opposite direction, and the slight downhill gradient and smooth tarmac were very welcoming. I got a big cheer just as I turned onto Chesterfield Avenue, but I couldn’t see who was shouting. Approaching the Phoenix monument I could see some familiar faces so I smiled and waved – actually I continued smiling as I had been from the start, though this may have only been visible on the inside. I passed the 5 mile mark around 34 min and felt the hairs stand up on the back of my neck for an instant, then it was back to the task in hand. On we strode to the turn into Furze road and there were more familiar faces egging me on. Last year it was a case of “oh no, I can’t let everyone down”, on this occasion I just thought “isn’t it wonderful to be out in the park on such a beautiful day, with some friends sharing the experience”. Past the 10k in 42:19, and it occurred to me that I had laboured to a 42:50 in the Great Run in April. What a difference a few months, and miles, can make. As the downhill gradient increased I was briefly reminded of my suspicion that it was here I began to trash my legs in a way that would come back to get me with a vengeance later on. However I felt comfortable, and so I just cruised along with the group I was with. I had a brief chat with a visitor (South African?) who was asking about the elevation of the rest of the course, so after passing on the relevant information and assuring him he was well on target for a sub 3, I said I was going to stop talking. This was another revelation – I normally hate talking in a race but this was a pleasant interlude.

    Out the park gate and I thought I might be in trouble as my group seemed to be moving away, but a glance at the Garmin told me to be patient and let them run their own race. As we progressed up the hill at St. Laurence road in the beautiful sunshine – I recalled seeing my breath last year as I went under the N4, but there was no visible breath this year, in fact I had no sensation of being out of breath. The nine mile marked awaited at the top, and I had done 6:40, 6:55, 6:47, 6:33 and 6:42 for the previous 5 miles. A quick mental tot made me smile a little more, but again I wasn’t obsessing over the target, just enjoying a day out in the sun. It also struck me that I had been out for a whole hour, and yet I felt the adventure had yet to begin. Mile 10 was 6:49 and I was still on track. Now I began to look forward to the support I knew was waiting at Dolphin’s Barn, both from friends and the many strangers that always make so much noise. The roars seemed to lift me, and after some more encouragement from the nameless cyclist, I was suddenly crossing the halfway timing mat. Miles of 6:42, 6:53 and 6:56 had got me this far, and as I crossed the mat in 1:29:19 I was into uncharted territory. I had run the Adidas half in 1:25, but now if I could keep a reasonable pace I could say “I’ve never run 14 miles this fast, I’ve never run 15 miles this fast…"and so on. I swapped my empty hydration belt for a full one from my son just before mile 14. This is where the rot set in last year, when I ran a 6:30 mile trying to stay with the group I was with. I had no Garmin then and I thought I was just going through a bad patch, but by the time I got to the mile marker and discovered the damage, it was irreversible. I enjoyed the absence of distress this time, chalked up a 6:55 mile, and looked forward to the next, slightly downhill 4 miles, knowing I’d encounter 2 more sets of family supporters. 6:49, 6:52, 6:51, and 6:47 brought me past my sister’s shouts at Comans in Rathgar, and up to the top of the hill at Milltown where my brother roared that I was only 1 min behind the sub 3 balloons.

    From now on the race was pretty much in single file, and I began to make my way past people. In the shorter races I usually try to pick a target ahead and burst a gut to overtake them, then pick another, while trying to ignore all the speed merchants flying past me. On Monday I just kept at my comfortable pace, and cruised past them one by one. I had a word or two or a pat on the back for all of them, and my favourite moment of the race was when my “come on Mayo” was repaid with a “thank you very much”, which didn’t sound too distressed. I stuck out my left arm with a thumbs up – I hope he noticed. I was all out of drinks now so I took on more at one of the stations, and looked forward to the next big revelation on my voyage of discovery – how would Foster’s Avenue compare to last year? In DCM ’08, my legs were so wrecked that I didn’t really notice the hill up to Foster Motors – I wasn’t able to put my heart and lungs under any pressure – but I almost had to crawl down the hill that followed. I had contemplated going into the medical tent for a rub, but I still thought I could make a PB if I could loosen the legs up, so I kept hobbling. ’09 was light years away, and miles of 6:50, 6:55, 6:55 and 6:42 brought me to the 22 mile mark. Now surely the major psychological battle must begin. I had been dreading it, I had trained for it, I had promised myself I’d be more than a match for whatever would come my way, and yet here I was, moving as freely as I was at 9:05am, and thoroughly enjoying myself.

    6:40 got me to the 23 mile mark – we must have had a tail wind. And then, when the pain finally came, it was a relief. This was what I’d promised myself after last year, and in fact after ’83. This was what I had prepared for, now, at last, in complete contrast to my early-morning feelings, I was exactly where I wanted to be, doing exactly what I wanted to do. The calves began to burn, but a glance at the Garmin re-assured me. The pace hadn’t wavered, and I was still picking off those in front of me, with only the occasional overtaker passing me. I let them go, knowing that any burst of speed might finish my legs – a lot could happen in 2 miles.

    A 6:53 followed by a 6:54 brought me to the canal bridge – by far the toughest hill in the race for me, and yet it too seemed to pass under my feet with no distress. I sneaked a glance at the Garmin, and for the first time since I saw the 8:10 pace in the first half mile I was briefly displeased. A little mental relaxation saw the bad news recede, the 7:15 gradually fading to be replaced by a rock steady 6.54.

    Now the pain in the legs was very intense, yet I wasn’t feeling any distress. The crowds from Westland row onwards really created a fantastic atmosphere, and on Pearse Street I was almost knocked off my stride when I heard someone shout my name. I struggled to match a name to the face when suddenly it dawned on me – the former work colleague who had come into my mind early that morning, and whom I’d resolved to get in touch with soon. Another good omen…..

    At last I was passing the 800m mark, and just as my body had circled the city, and TCD, my thoughts had circled back to where I’d wondered, around 8:15am, what time I’d be passing that point again. A little mental arithmetic – thankfully the legs were quicker than the mind at that point – told me I had about 4min 30sec to make the sub 3, and I knew I could make it in 3min 30sec if I kept running. I couldn’t resist a little Eamonn Coghlan fist waving at that point! I had stopped encouraging runners from the 25 mile mark, but up front there was a lady in black walking, so I gave her a pat on the back and a cheer. I also said a quick thank you to one of the organisers whose name escapes me, but he is at all the races and is always on the move, cleaning up and generally being a shining example to all.

    Approaching the finish and it was no longer a dream, I could disregard the devices on each wrist and look up at the gantry, where the time began with 2….


    Like Abhainn I have to say this was the easiest race, whether on the bike or running, that I have ever completed. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s possible to achieve a target without some measure of suffering, and I did suffer a lot on the way to the finish line, however, by some miracle, only a tiny proportion of that suffering took place between 9am and 11:59 on Monday 26th. I suffered in ’83, horribly in ’08, many times on the bike in my racing days and on foot over the last year, and in fact on many occasions which would seem to have nothing to do with running a marathon. It seemed that all those experiences were necessary stepping stones on the way to the start line – part of the entry fee if you like, and yet those memories all seemed to float away like the errant pacer’s balloon as soon as the gun went off. I’ve read about “flow” and “being in the zone”, but though I understood the terms intellectually I had never experienced the states referred to, to this extent. All the way round the race it was as if I was lying down, relaxing, as I used to do at the end of yoga class. While I was acutely aware of the weather, the point of the route I was on, the cheers, the discarded bottles, the erratic cyclists etc, I had almost no physical sensations. I had no awareness of my legs or arms moving, except on the few occasions when I remembered to let my arms hang loose. I never felt my feet hitting the road, and I was well into the 25th mile before a slightly warm feeling on the ball of my left foot told me I still had feet. I never felt my heart beat, and was conscious of my breathing on only about two occasions, both very brief. The only physical sensations I had were the feeling that I might need to make a loo stop, which disappeared after 2 or 3 miles, and the taste and feel in my mouth of the fluid I was drinking – I felt nothing in my stomach despite consuming approximately 1.5 litres.

    How did all this come about? Well the preparation was good, and of course the perfect weather prompted me to enjoy the day and make the most of a wonderful opportunity. The support of family and friends, including boardsies, was invaluable. Somewhere along the way though, subconsciously I decided that rather than aiming to battle the marathon I should embrace it as a long-lost friend, should just keep putting one foot in front of the other and let the time be whatever it was going to be. I couldn’t have wished for a better adventure.

    Some of you, in reading this, will have suffered more than you did in your 26miles 385 yards, but if it helps even one person to embark on a similar journey then all that suffering will have been worth it.

    Roll on the jingle bells 5k.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,235 ✭✭✭ Abhainn

    aero2k excellent report and well done. In your summary account it seems we shared many of the same experiences in the race.
    Did you finish with a 2:58 or 2:59?

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭ misty floyd

    Aero2k, thank you for your race report. You mentioned hard times in the past.....
    aero2k wrote: »
    It seemed that all those experiences were necessary stepping stones on the way to the start line – part of the entry fee if you like, and yet those memories all seemed to float away like the errant pacer’s balloon as soon as the gun went off.

    Sorry to move from the point of this thread but I had a tough time of things on Monday and have been feeling pretty low (mentally) all week. Some people around me think I'm being silly but that is how I feel. I'm taking a lot of heart from your report. Thank you very much and well fcukin done!

    [shakes hand :D]

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭ aero2k

    Abhainn wrote: »
    aero2k excellent report and well done. In your summary account it seems we shared many of the same experiences in the race.
    Did you finish with a 2:58 or 2:59?
    Thanks Abhainn, reading your report inspired me to write mine.
    Chip time 2:58:55, I think it took 12 seconds to cross the start line.
    Maybe could have shaved off a few seconds in the finishing straight, but I was just savouring the feeling for the last 800m.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,534 ✭✭✭ aero2k

    Aero2k, thank you for your race report. You mentioned hard times in the past.....

    Sorry to move from the point of this thread but I had a tough time of things on Monday and have been feeling pretty low (mentally) all week. Some people around me think I'm being silly but that is how I feel. I'm taking a lot of heart from your report. Thank you very much and well fcukin done!

    [shakes hand :D]
    Right back at ya Misty.
    I think the point of this thread is for us to share all our experiences. I really enjoyed last year though my race day was a bit like yours, and I had the same low feeling afterwards which didn't really go away until I started logging in here on a regular basis, and started back with a (sort of) structured training programme.
    I hope I didn't overstate the hard times in the past; compared to 99% of the world's population I've had a charmed life - nonetheless it can be tough when things don't work out as we want.
    Get back into it gently, and remember that which doesn't kill us will make us stronger.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭ misty floyd

    aero2k wrote: »
    I hope I didn't overstate the hard times in the past; compared to 99% of the world's population I've had a charmed life - nonetheless it can be tough when things don't work out as we want.
    Get back into it gently, and remember that which doesn't kill us will make us stronger.

    Not at all, I knew you meant tough races you had that you learned from. Cheers mate ;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,191 ✭✭✭ osnola ibax

    Aero2k, thank you for your race report. You mentioned hard times in the past.....

    Sorry to move from the point of this thread but I had a tough time of things on Monday and have been feeling pretty low (mentally) all week. Some people around me think I'm being silly but that is how I feel. I'm taking a lot of heart from your report. Thank you very much and well fcukin done!

    [shakes hand :D]

    Hi MF, I've been feeling the very same way all week if it's any consolation. I felt the same way, though not as bad, after the 10 miler adidas. TBH, after a race that you feel didn't go well or provide the proper return on the training investment, there is SFA anyone can say to you to make you feel better. All you can do is put in a good performance in the next race to banish those demons.

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,492 ✭✭✭ Woddle

    I'm going to sticky this for a while. I love reading race reports and I'm sure others do and not everyone has a log. It's very hard to follow everyones race report in the DM thread with all the traffic.

    If it's not popular I'll unsticky it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,435 ✭✭✭ Izoard

    Doing a few hours on the pacer stand on Sunday, definitely got the juices flowing. I'd never really paid attention to the pacers before as I usually run-by-feel, but I was amazed at how busy the stand was with eager pacees.

    Despite the freezing conditions at 7am, you could see it was going to be good day for running.
    An apprehensive Mrs.I dropped me near the Conrad before continuing on to a marathon "safe house" close to the start.

    It was good to put faces to the many boardsies milling around - I was lucky to be doing my first pacing gig with the experienced crew of Wally Runs, ITB and SPB100.

    Getting the bus to the start with the elites was a nice touch - I think each Dublin Bus seat could take up to 4 Kenyanssmile.gif - perfect build for marathoning.

    Quick pacer photo at the start and then made our way to our perch near the back. No sign of Mrs.I - I was guessing she was starting ahead of our group, with a few of our mates who were also doing it.

    The crowds acted as a good pace restrainer for the first few miles and by that point, I was comfortable with the shortened stride.

    Beautiful conditions in the park and with no wind around Crumlin, the half way mark was upon us with about 40secs in hand. We were forming a nice "pace line", with a growing crowd behind us and a bit of space in front.

    The family were out in force at Bushy Park and it was pointed out to me in fairly direct terms that Mrs.I was "whoopin' my butt!".

    Around by Orwell and Pink Balloon #1 starts heading skyward - a wardrobe malfunction with a number belt, the root cause.

    Still, armed with Balloon #2, a 4.30 sign and the truth, we headed onwards with our merry band.

    Eventually caught Mrs.I at mile 18 and she's looking in pain - a long dormant knee problem re-surfaced around mile 8 and she began to slow from there. She hung in until the hill at Roebuck, which had the effect of temporarily shedding some of the stragglers.

    Reassuring the group that it was "all downhill from here" we made good time to the canal, at which point we realised we were a little ahead and we should spend the rest of the time cajoling the punters to the finish.

    Great support in the final 2 miles (and indeed all the way around) and all 4 pacers crossed the line together, with ~15 secs to spare.

    Mrs. I crossed in 4.36 - very proud of her. Was a serious effort to finish.

    Lots of happy punters at the finish, but one conversation made me smile:

    Punter: You were slower than 4:30 - My wife ran with you to the finish, but her watch says 4:32.
    Izoard: Ehhh, we were under by 15 seconds or so.
    Wife of punter: Look here's the time on my watch!
    Izoard: sure you STARTED with the 4:30 group?
    Wife of punter: Oh, I needed to start with you guys?

    Brisk walk back to the Conrad with the 4.30 crew and an increasingly erratic balloon.
    Shower, quick pint and exit to relieve a babysitter.

    Great day, good fun and an excellent pacing crew.

    Where do I sign up for 2011?

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭ misty floyd

    I'll throw mine up later Woddle. Pity the first race report on this thread is so crap (mine). I only wrote one paragraph on the actual race! At least it didn't set the toan.....lots of good ones here.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,610 ✭✭✭ yaboya1

    DCM 2010

    I only decided to do this in late July having had no running experience other than a couple of X-country events in school. 12 weeks of hard work and maybe I could go under 4 hours were my original thoughts. Training went well and I gradually saw myself getting faster as my times started to improve. 1:25 for the 10 miler. 1:47 for the half. Did the Athlone 3/4 in 2:38 but felt I injured myself in the last 3 miles as my left leg really started to hurt. Last 2 weeks of training didnt go so well as I had abandon my last 2 LSRs to rest the leg in the hope it would be ok for the big day. Last week before the DCM I felt nothing on my last few short runs so was relatively confident going into Monday. Set myself a new goal of sub 3:40 which I felt was achieveable once my leg didn't play up again.

    Now I just had to decide which pace group to go with. 3.30 for as long as possible and try to hang on or the 3.45 and try to pick up the pace in the last few miles. I decided the 3.30 option was the best one for me. Lined up about 10 yards behind the 3 pacers at the start and was feeling fit and ready. Lost about 60-80 yards on them due to congestion in the first 2 miles but manged to get back into position by the time we had reached the Park gates. Running with this group was a terrific experience and the camaraderie was unbelieveable. The pacers hit every mile almost on the button and one of them would inform us of our progress followed by a roar of "Come on the 3.30". Brilliant stuff. I felt really comfortable at this pace and didnt even notice the miles going by. I was passing under the halfway mark at Walkinstown before I knew it.

    Down Cromwellsfort Road, Kimmage Road and onto Fortfield Road. We had now passed the 15 mile mark and I was feeling my first semblance of pain. My dodgy left leg was playing up again. The pace was now hurting but the loud roar as we passed mile 16 inspired me to stick with them. Coming down through Terenure I started to slowly fall behind. Pain was getting greater and they were moving further ahead. Passing the 17 mile pole I knew I had to let them go. I might hold on for 2 or 3 more miles but not 9.2.

    Now I was on my own. But I knew sub 3:40 was still on. Once I didn''t stop to a walk I felt it was achieveable. It was very lonely from then on but the support from the enthusiastic crowds lining the streets through Milltown and Clonskeagh kept me moving at a consistent jog. The hill at Roebuck Road/Fosters Avenue was a real struggle. I would like to thank the elderly man who informed me that once I got to the traffic lights it was all downhill from there. I hadn't got the energy to do it at the time. This really perked me up and once I got there I seemed to glide through the next 3 miles down the dual carriageway, over the flyover and down past RTE. Just over 3 miles to go now. I can do it. My body is aching. Feels like it's constantly telling me to stop and is punishing me for disobeying. It was getting really painful now.

    Past the 24 pole and onto what felt like the biggest climb on the course over the canal. Approaching the 25 pole I can hear the crowds cheering and the sound of the mega-phones. I'm nearly there. A glance to my left and I see runners going the opposite direction to the finish. Right turn coming up. Torture! So near, yet so far. Up Pearse Street and around the bend at College Green. At least I'm heading in the right direction now. Managed to pick up the pace for 200 yards as I neared the 26 pole. I'm in agony at this stage. I pass the 26 and I still can't see the finish. Where is it? When will this torture end?

    Finally the finish is in sight. I'm running on empty. Must be pure adrenaline keeping me going. I pass under the clock and it reads 3:40:xx. A quick glance at my own watch says 3:39:xx. I did it! My first thoughts are: "Never again. Why would you volunteer to put yourself through that pain?"
    Eight celebratory pints and a nights sleep later and I want to do another one. Where do I sign up?

    This running lark is addictive! :)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,392 ✭✭✭ ger664

    Athens is not flat or cool, but it is run over the original course taken by the first marathoner Pheidippides, so all my training was done on hills with long runs while on holidays on the Algarve. Training went extremely well and I found a new found love for hills.
    As I sat on the tarmac in Shannon on Friday Morning I was extremely happy with how I had prepared for this Race. Tomorrow was to prove otherwise.

    Got to Athens late on Friday evening after a long day travelling, herself indoors is eager to go and see the sites the next day as she is really into all this Greek stuff. I am not keen on a long day on my feet so I agree to some sightseeing the following day after I pick up my Bib from the expo which is 5 Minutes walk from Hotel.
    Early rise on Saturday after breakfast check for race acknowledgement and to my horror its is not in my bag and neither is my watch so much for preparation. No panic, find an Internet Cafe and printout a new one and should be able to pickup a watch at the Expo. Go to hotel reception and get directions to nearest internet cafe, hop on Metro (all runners received a free travel pass for all public transport for the weekend on arrival at the airport) get out at wrong exit and spend next hour trying to find said internet cafe.
    Herself rings me to know how long I would be so I start to explain my predicament, to which she replies there is a Computer and Printer in the hotel lobby, and access is free to all hotel residents. Okay so Homer hops back on to the metro back to the hotel and gets said printouts.
    Expo was heaving when I got there pickup my bib and chip but had to fight through crowds to get the Addias shirt. Good ploy to get all the runners go through the expo, but the narrow halls made it quite an uncomfortable experience.
    Along the way could not find any stands selling watches, pickup shirt (worth the trouble to get it) and left the expo to return to the hotel. Still had not picked up a watch but herself had itchy feet so I would just have to pace myself without one tomorrow.
    Back to hotel and hit off with herself to see the Acropolis’s Museum. On the way find a street trader selling watches, so after a bit of haggling I purchase an Analogue watch for €5. On to the Museum for mandatory sight seeing before making my escape back to the Hotel for some relaxation and a lie-down.
    That evening a quick 5 Minute walk to Italian for some Pasta. Portions sizes had been small so far in most restaurants so I ordered 2, when quizzed by waiter as to why I explained and he duly obliged with a large plate of pasta, turned out he was running it as well.
    Back to hotel get everything ready for the morning set alarm for 4:45, Hotel staff are laying on Breakfast for us at 5:00 as last Bus leaves for the Marathon start at 6:30am.

    Race Day
    Alarm goes off at 4:45 and I surprisingly have got a good nights sleep. Get dressed and catch elevator to Roof Top restaurant (which has a spectacular view of the City) to read the following, Dear Guest Please be advised that clocks will go back by One hour at 4:00 AM to 3:00 AM on the 31st of October 2010. So Homer goes back to the room to catch another hour’s kip.
    Second time of asking up at 4:45 AM new time dressed up for breakfast. Start strong cup of coffee to move bowels, I suffer from colitis and if I do not move before the race start I will have a guaranteed pit stop during the race. Have my usual big breakfast and set off for Bus to start at 05:30. The majority of the guests are running the marathon so the hotel is buzzing.
    Hats off to the Greeks for organisation, they bussed 12000 runners to the start (45 Min drive) in one hour with the minimum of fuss.

    At the start found a very quiet area at the back of the warm up track with changing rooms and seats. Sit down for the next Hour or so and chill out. Just before getting changed bowel duly obliged, was quite amazed that queue for Porto loos was only 3 or 4 deep. Got changed and head back to bag drop off point, on leaving the area notice a sign for Elite & CISM runner’s only. Absolute mayhem at bag drop off point and the usual deep queues at Porto loos for the mere mortals.
    About 15 minutes before the gun, get into the correct corral for start. There is a good buzz around the place now and DJ is thumping out the music. Few speeches from organisers and the first wave Elites and CISMs get the gun at 9:00 to balloons and Ticker tape, 5 minutes later were off and I make a mental note of the time on my new €5 Garmin as I cross the mat.
    Its a very pleasant sunny morning and the first few K's are not so slow. This is my first Wave start and I think Dublin really need to start doing it.
    The Greek population took to this event and really embraced it. The support along the way was massive with waving of flags and shouts of bravo. I passed one Greek runner at 5K dressed in costume with no footwear,it takes barefoot running to a new level. Below is a picture of him at the 30 K mark.
    After 2K I notice the thin blue line, this is obviously the shortest route to take along the course so I proceed to stay as close as possible to it. My plan for this race is a sub 4, get to halfway in 1:58 to 1:59 climb to the 30K 2:55 to 2:56 and then do the last 12K in an hour (downhill section).
    A group of 20 pass me at 15K with one sporting a big Blue Balloon, I assume they are the 4 hour pacers so I try to tag along, after about a K I let them go as the pace is faster the 5:30/K. I get to half way on 1:54 this is faster then I wanted so I decide to take the next 2K @ 6 minute pace.
    After passing 22K I look and my new Garmin and it has stopped, well u get what you pay for. From this point on I will just have to go on feel. Now we are half way through the climb and its has got noticeable hotter and several runners have stopped or are walking.
    We receive sponges every 5K so I stuck one in my pocket, also I can run and carry a bottle of water in my left hand. This really saved me as I was able to use this and the sponge to keep the ill effects of the heat away. We get to the last 400M of the climb which is very steep and there is an overpass on the road which is full off supporters. I get to the top without having stopped or walked once since the start of the climb, my hill training really paid off. Once over I put the shoe down all the way to the finish.
    I felt like **** around the 38K and I put in a recovery pace K and then I spot the Big Blue Balloon up ahead, so I dig in and catch up with them. There is only 2 guys at this point and I ask them are they the 4 hour pacers, one replies in an American accent no they are not. I enquiry as to why he is wearing the balloon to which he states to attract some women, clearly it was not working. As I pass the 40K I am felling much better and I make a final push for the finish.

    The finish
    The finish of a marathon is a special experience but the finish in Athens in the original Olympic stadium is up there with the birth of my children. Coming down the last K the route passes a tree lined avenue to the east of the National Gardens. The crowds are quite big here and the support is fantastic, its downhill easy to run but my quads are in bits but I keep pushing, on entry to the stadium I see a clock for the first time since halfway it is 3:56 which makes me 3:50, next you see the stadium its self and the rush of adrenaline in my veins pushed me flat out to the finish of 3:51:25 and a PB.

    Post Race
    Collect my Medal. Now this medal is the best Medal I have every got. Its twice as thick as your standard medal and its in the shape of the stadium itself. Hand back my timing chip, only quibble I have with this event is that no cable ties supplied so you have use your laces, so at the finish bending over and untie your shoes to get the chip off is painful.
    Go for the massage and shower, meet herself get some photos, and off to an Irish Pub for a Steak and some pints of the black stuff to celebrate.

    I really enjoyed the challenge that this race presented to me. You will get out of a race what you put in and the bigger the challenge the better the reward.

    I would advise anyone to skip Dublin and run this at least once.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭ misty floyd

    Forgot to add these race reports. Taken from my previous two training logs: (Everything in its right pace and 12 weeks of DCM training (A sub 3 attempt)).

    What got me here
    I suppose this all started at around mile 19 of DCM 09. I worked my ass off for that race and that sinking body shut down feeling was something I never wanted to feel again. Investing so much into one race for it to fall apart like that was hard for me. I had to fix it.

    Hiding at my desk in work the week after DCM, I came across this thread (Improving for next time) and some posts by Tergat. It was time to make things simple and address the endurance problems I had in my two marathons (Belfast 09 3:40:?? and DCM 09 3:25:??). No more weekly racing guys in the club during tempo sessions. I completed two marathon specific runs per week and lots of easy miles in between. I’ve attached my training plan again. I really enjoyed training this time around, no injuries and lots more energy. I also dropped a few more pounds which was a bonus. I ran a 10m race 4 weeks before the marathon in Craughwell (great race) and finished strong with 62min 12s. This, and confidence in my training, confirmed for me what several people had suggested....go for sub3.

    Race Plan
    I made up my mind to go for a negative split. I always perform better when I do that and I thought it a safer approach plus I felt confident about that. Starting off with ~ 7:00 m/m for the first couple, reach half way at around 1:31:00 and take it home at 18m. I was confident of this, why not.

    Race Day
    I woke up and felt no butterflies, no worries. It was like any morning getting up for work. I just got it done. I went for breakfast and scoffed strange tasting muesli and 3 slices of bread. I said goodbye to my girlfriend and got into the D pen pretty early. It was windy, which I wasn’t worried about but it did make things colder having to wait around. It was nearly time and we were treated to “You’ll never walk alone”. “Boom”, the canons went off and it was time to go....finally.

    The Race
    I punched the watch at the mat and started the weaving. Despite being at the top of the D pen, there were lots of slower runners. I missed the first km so I didn’t get to check my pace band but my watch did beep at the first mile: 7:18. That’s ok; I expected that, so I continued at a similar effort. Still avoiding people, I missed the 2km mark.

    You know when you are driving your car over the speed limit (e.g. the roads on the way to Heuston?) and out of nowhere, a transit van is parked on the side of the road or a garda with a speed gun? ..............“Beep”, mile 2: 6:07:eek: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! I hit the brakes. Ok man you’re an idiot but you’re in control here. I didn’t panic, it’s a long race. I thought about it for a bit and thought that the plan of ~6:50 – 6:55m/m would be important now. I couldn’t take the chance of eating into those vital glycogen reserves especially now that I had made a withdrawal so early.

    I followed that up with a 6:59. Miles 3-18 were like an LSR for me. Not in terms of effort but the way they past uneventful like, lost in my thoughts, thinking about how I felt and what my pace was like. I wasn’t thinking about anything else. I did start talking to a guy that I had spotted at our hotel. “Are you Irish?” I asked. A Kilkenny man, going for the 3. He asked me if I was on for it and I said “about a minute behind....that’s alright”. I was surprised with myself that I talked to anybody but I also noticed how easy it was to talk. How easy 6:50m/m was compared to the PMP miles in training. For these 15 or so miles it was just a case of getting the job done. The wind at points was tough and trying to shelter, I found myself running a little slower than I wanted. So I took wind quite a bit. Again, no panic, this is part of the race. I got a shout at around miles 12&13 from my GF and a mate from the club. I smiled and thanked them, that was great. I was enjoying it.

    Splits mile 4 - 18:

    During lots of these miles, any km marker I saw, I would check my stopwatch and check my pace band. The font was too small and it was pissing me off. It was a total distraction. When I did read things correctly, I seemed to be 60 – 70 seconds behind sub 3 up to mile 18. My half marathon time was 1:31:04, just 4 seconds outside where I wanted to be.

    Like most of my LSR’s that ended with PMP miles, I went into mile 18 not knowing how it would feel. It felt ok.

    18: 6:41 / 19: 6:39 / 20: 6:39 / 21: 6:44

    So 20 came and went and I didn’t feel it, not that I feared it. I started to see people walking and I was overtaking lots and lots of people. I felt great doing this. Mile 22: 6:34 and it was starting to hurt. Not a shutdown, more of an all body ache. I saw two people puking sub 3 on the side of the road and tons of dutch people shouting encouragement. I didn’t need any. In the past I needed it but I was in the zone....kind of loving it in a weird way.
    I got so fed up looking at the watch and trying to work out what I was behind sub 3 that I just dropped that plan and decided to run to the end as fast as I could...what more could I do. This was the case from mile 18 really.

    Mile 23: 6:47 and mile 24: 6:46.

    I knew I was close but serious work to do and I remembered what Tunguska told me to read 2 minutes before I left the house the day before the race. He told me to read a piece from Jack Daniels book. If you are struggling, increase the pace. I wanted to see how that felt. I put the foot down. Within 300m I came across a sponge stop, grabbed one and some water went down my nose. Increasing the pace like that felt horrible and I think the water gave me an excuse to drop that faster than fast pace. I just couldn’t do it, my body was screaming at me.

    My left quad started to tighten and I feared it could pull me to the side of the road if I wasn’t careful. I could only manage Mile 25 at: 6:51. That tightness kind of went by kicking my ass with my heel (if you get me). Mile 26: 6:40 and with teeth grinding and arms pumping the last half mile (26.5 on garmin) was at a pace of 6:06 m/m.

    I think I knew at mile 24 that the sub 3 was gone but it wasn’t really until 200m to go that I looked at the watch and knew it wasn’t there. “Go Andy”, I heard my GF say. I crossed the line completely overjoyed. I ran a damn solid race.


    I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a bit of regret about the 31 seconds. The second mile? The wind? Should I have worked harder on earlier miles to go slightly under 6:50m/m? Should I have taken the 4/5 people advice on this log to run even splits? It’s funny when you get a time like that. Everyone’s reaction is like the reaction people have when watching you’ve been framed type clips of people falling. I feel like I have to say, “Relax, it’s ok I’m delighted”. That’s my time and nobody can take it from me. Nite nite DCM.

    Sorry for the ramblings. Its good getting this out of the head and I’d recommend posting a race report regardless of a good or bad experience. Thanks to everyone for posting on A/R/T especially in the logs. They are a huge benefit to read through, and figure out what might work for you. The good wishes and advice are also priceless. It was also great to put some faces to names in the Irish bar that night and great to hear of so many great performances.

    Almost Everything in its right PACE :D

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,905 ✭✭✭ misty floyd

    DCM 2010

    12 weeks leading to race.
    I wasn't happy with things on the lead up to the race. 7 weeks ago, throwing my toys out of the pram, I had serious intentions of packing it in to try to enjoy my running again and relieve the headache that is 'sub 3'. So I was bullied into doing it by fellow boardsies on this log :D Then onto the Dublin half marathon and things were starting to click...I got an ok time of 1:24:45. I did struggle home for the last couple of miles but for the most of that race I felt stronger than I had in training since the Spring. Sub 3 was back on the agenda.

    ........and then it was off the agenda when on the final week of taper I got a flu/cold and a stomach bug. To avoid stress, I accepted 3:05 would still be worth going for and I'd be happy with that. For reasurance I asked Tunguska at the expo if I'd blow up trying to stick to the sub 3 pacers. He comfirmed what I thought and said no. Sub 3 back on the agenda. I got a pace band from Krusty and got good advice about pacing. Being sick that week meant I wasn't worried or stressed as I had nothing to loose. I was ready for the bad news of not making it. The bummer of that last week was not getting the confidence you get from those final few runs when you really have to work to slow down. Still, I had decent training in the bag and I trusted it.

    The race
    The plan was simple: stick to the sub 3 pacer unless the wheels came off. I was positioned about 5meters from one (Jason) when the race started but by the time he crossed the line and I did, he was already running away from me. Down to O'Connell street, he was maybe 100m ahead. My first mile was 6:57 and I was happy to do my own thing and run my own race. I was glad I had that pace band as I would use it a lot over the next while.

    The miles ticked off and I checked my time against the split time on the pace band. The ~6:50 pace felt alright. My legs felt fine and my sinuses were feeling good...finally.
    I did this stupid thing a lot throughout training and even in the race yesterday, I kept comparing how I felt during training and during Rotterdam and feeling a little pissed that things were way easier back in April. Today, I'd carry on regardless and what will be will be. Job to do.

    Every so often I'd look up and see the pacer baloon about 40-80m ahead. It was nice to see he wasn't pulling away from me. I was doing my own thing but its a great reasurance. Then his baloon burst when it hit trees in the park. Sh1t!! Up popped a '3.00' sign, lovely.

    The amount of support I had was fantastic, not to mention the crowds out there.....unreal. Met a mate to give me gels, my gf, some of her family, my family and some of my friends all out to cheer me on. It was great. Going by the club and got another lift from everyone. I met Kaymin in the Park and it was good to see him.

    The crumlin road was a bit of a drag for me. It was starting to hurt at this point. I was checking all of the split times against my watch and I knew I was going to be under for the first half. I didn't see any of the auto lap mile splits, but I used the average pace window. I was around 6:46 or 6:47 and I knew it would have to be this to allow for the longer distance the garmin records. Crossing the half way point and I was under by about 20-30 seconds.....I can't remember exactly. EDIT: turns out I was 1:30:03. At 14miles I hit a low point. I started thinking about how sore I felt and how far I had to go, how better I felt in Rotterdam. My body wanted to ease off the pace and it was only at 14m! I snapped out of it and started saying to myself 'relax, relax'. I also did that thing of rubbing my index fingers with my thumbs, supposed to help with tension in the shoulders ? but it was a distraction and I tried to think positive thoughts. Next thing I know and I'm flying along, feeling good again :confused:.

    There was a big group formed up ahead around Jason and every time they got near crowds (supporting), he would raise the 3'00 sign and the crowd would go mental. I wanted a bit of that so I decided to slowly try to catch up. I finally caught up at around 18m and I would stick to that guy like glue. As soon as I caught him, I really felt like I could do it. I ignored the pace band and watch and switched off. I might have switched off too much as I stepped on a bottle that was still full and nearly done in my ankle. It was sore for a minute but I got lucky. Being in this group was just excellent. To be able to switch off is such an advantage and the crowds cheering was brilliant.

    20-22 mile, tired but still going well, a nice rhythem, fueling was going well, no niggles and best of all no negative thoughts. By mile 23 and I was dying for the miles to chip away. At this point i felt a bit ill but my legs were not letting me down and seemed to be doing what I wanted them to do. Nice feeling that. Jason said to us a few times that we were at '2:59 low' pace so I started thinking about how much I could fade and still get away with sub to stop thinking and stick to him. Man, it was tough. I mean seriously, it was like my legs were working but I wasn't in control of them. It was weird, like a motor turning over, I was just moving forward, still at the same pace but kind of out of it. At mile 25, I thanked the pacer for doing the pacing job. He assured me I'd get it and said its supposed to hurt. Anyway, we were about to get to the front of trinity and he kind of took the foot off to gather people "are we still on?" ..."yep your well on mate, your gonna do it" he said. I turned the corner by Trinity and my family/friends spotted me. I let out such a load roar at them with closed fist "YEEEEAAAAHHHHH". I don't know what came over me, I just knew I had it and I was so happy. Coming down to the finish and I saw the clock with 2:58?? on it, I didn't give a **** about sprint finishes or anything and just shouted my head off for the last 50m, waving my arms and trying to get the crowd going. Not that they needed it. Amazing feeling, I don't give a sh!t I shed one or two tears right after finishing. I did it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 362 ✭✭ MREGAN

    Causeway Coast Adventure racing Round 2 Bangor Co. Down

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,441 ✭✭✭ Condo131

    This report appears on-line here.

    Last Sunday was my 27th consecutive Ballycotton. It’s one of the key races that I look forward to each year. Nevertheless, I’ve NEVER been happy with my runs there. It’s probably primarily because it comes at a time of year that I’ve rarely prioritised as a key period, and I reap the rewards of that strategy – you can’t have your cake and eat it.

    Training for the last few weeks was supplemented by a lot (in my terms) of bike work, measuring several race courses. Each of three separate days took between 6 and 11 hours on the bike. Not great prep for Ballycotton, but there’s only so much time to do these weather dependent things. Other than that, I felt in reasonably good form, with sub-70 as the declared target. In Dublin last October, I’d gone through 10 in 72:31, so 70 should have been well within my capability, but I wasn’t confident.

    The article title? The first bit is obvious, the second will become so as you read this – I was accompanied by my daughter, Aoife, who runs with Crusaders AC, in Dublin. The final piece relates to an unwise (in hindsight) wager I made, a few months back, with Trevor O’Neill (St. Finbarr’s) - the loser was to buy the cream buns.

    Ballycotton day came and it was off to 9:30 mass and a handy parking spot, relatively close to the start/finish. After that it was a case of swanning around the place, savouring the atmosphere. I reckon there are few places like Ballycotton on race day, with a real buzz about the place...everyone pumped up and raring to go!

    The couple of hours weren’t long going; there was the mandatory visit to Race HQ, the local primary school, to renew old and no-so-old acquaintances, and see what Ballycotton gear was on offer, (Are you like me? A lot of my ‘best clothes’ consist of Ballycotton 10 jackets, hoodies and jumpers. God only knows what the neighbours think of all this! I’m happy in my gear, though). “Hmmm...that’s a lovely jacket Johnny Walshe has....can I have one of those?” “Those ones are special! You have to have run thirty Ballycottons before you can have one of those!”, she says, probably thinking “That’ll sort him out”. I reply “Good, I’ll have one in three years.” Her jaw drops, and then a smile. I think Johnny’s special jacket is unique, so I won’t hold my breath.

    After that, it was off to the annual Eagle AC group photos on the church steps at 12. This is always a good-natured moan, with late-comers being barracked and heckled as they make their last minute dashes, looking red-faced for the photos. Then it was back to the car, change the gear and try to do some of the usual warm-up ritual, even though we were over an hour away from start time.

    We managed to cajole our way through the barriers to get near the start. On the way through I was collared by Michael Joyce who mans the PA for the day. A quick interview about my 27 consecutive Ballycottons ensued – please God I’ll line-up again next year. “Any chance of a plug for C-Team?” I ask, so we’re off again into a commercial for this year’s C-Team squad in the Cork City Marathon Relay. [If you are a Cancer survivor, or know someone else who is, we’d love to have you run with us on June 6th – just make send me a PM.]

    It was cold enough, but I’d brought a bin liner to keep me warm and was I glad. 1.30 came and starter Dan McCarthy gave us the usual notice – none! Down the road without any problems – no trips or clips. Next thing Aoife flies by. “Hiya!” and she’s gone. No way I can match that pace. “Hopefully I’ll catch her in the later stages!” Coming up to the mile, Joe Roche comes by. “What are you aiming for?” “70” I reply and he does a bit of a wide arc, indicating that I should come alongside. He’s already 3 metres ahead and going faster, so I tell him to “Go ahead, I’m happy with this pace.” I’m not really, I’m tight as guitar string all over and 10/15 secs per mile off my pace. I think it’s a case of do your best. First mile is 7:16.

    Meantime there’s no sign of Trevor. Hopefully he’s behind. Two miles (14:21) and I’m passing a few, but more are passing me. Normally I wouldn’t be bothered, as my strategy is to hold off a bit until 5M and push on when I hit the long straight at about 5.5M or so. This time, I’ve been working from the start – Can I hold on? Three miles (21:29) goes by. I hate the 4th mile – windy narrow road and poor surface. 4 miles (28:49), with the fifth in 36:02. Thoughts of 70 are now probably wishful thinking – it’d need a 34 second half, but what the hell, I ain’t gonna give up that easily.

    As I said, I’d been working (too) hard, but upped the effort a bit and started counting off bodies passed/passing. 6 miles (43:20) and I’d made a net loss of 20 places. Two of those were the Rising Sun duo of John O’Riordan and Jimmy Murray. I’d been chasing down John for some time but Jim, who is enjoying a new lease of running life, came by and brought John with him. At this stage I was working pretty hard, drawing on my stamina and endurance and started making ground. 10k went by in 44:53. Passing the water station at 3/7 (50:34), I’ve made up the net loss of 20 from the previous mile. The Rising Sun duo are in my wake.

    I always find the 8th mile tough and long, and this was no exception, but I was still hoping to spot Aoife up ahead. 8 miles went by in 57:38 – that was a better mile. “Compose yourself for the battle ahead”, the hill looms. The first quarter mile of the hill is the worst, so it’s generally a bad idea to go at it “hammer and tongs”, so I go hard, but not all out. 9M goes by in 64:59 and I’ve made a net gain of 47 places since 5M. Still no sign of Aoife. I hit the 1k to go mark in 67:41 and figure “4 minutes”, giving it pretty much all I could. 100 to go and the clock is reading 71:50. I give it everything I can and come home in 72:08 (dunno where the extra 10 secs in the official gun time came from). A look back, after I finish, and the Rising Sun duo must have been hanging on to the back of my Eagle singlet - they're only a few metres behind.

    I finished knowing that Aoife (70:12) had beaten me for the first time – it’s been coming but I’d hoped to keep her at bay for another little while. No such luck – I’ve lost the household bragging rights! At least I was sure that I’d left Trevor in my wake! My hopes were swiftly dashed when I spotted him a fair bit up ahead, chatting with his Barrs colleagues. So I was buying the cream buns after all - They’re in the garage and I’ll give them to Trevor next month. Who says I’m a sore loser!! LOL

    Later on Sunday night, after hearing Aoife had taken my scalp, John Desmond sent me a text “The King is dead, long live the Queen!” I responded “The King is alive and kicking, but the Queen now wears the crown.”

    Roll on Ballycotton 2012!

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,841 ✭✭✭ opus


    Running for ~1.5 years, this was my forth marathon, previous best time was 3:18 in Berlin last Sept. I followed the P&D 12 week 55 miles/week plan with a target pace of ~4.25/km aiming for a time in around 3:10. After running a better time that I expected in the Ballycotton '10' & then a little faster again in the Mallow '10', the McMillian running calculator was suggesting I should aim higher. There was a 2:59 pacer in Leipzig so I decided to roll the dice & try and stick with him as long as I could & hoped that if things went wrong I'd still be able to make it in under 3:15.


    Didn't have a great trip to Germany, an accident on the autobahn & lots of Easter holiday traffic meant it took me an hour longer than normal to make it to my friends house. Was pretty knackered when I got there so was looking forward to a lie-in on Sat morning. Unfortunately their three year old was meciless & called me at 6:40am! Took a train to Leipzig to pick up my number, there were ~800 entered for the marathon so it was pretty relaxed. Picked up the souvenier running top for €12 which was pretty good value. Had a bit of a stroll around Leipiz & stuffed my face in an Italian resturant along with a few beers (non-alcoholic of course!).


    Got a lift to Leipzig on Sunday morning, no problem with parking & we caught a tram which dropped us right outside the marathon hq. Ate an energy snack 30 mins before the start & did a bit of a warm up jog. Was able to watch the start of the in-line skating half-marathon which was one lap of the city centre course, the marthon being two laps of the same course.

    After that it was time to get in the start area so I spotted the guy who was pacing 2:59, he was holding a few ballons at the start & had the time on the front & back of his singlet. I was standing right by the sign that said 2:59 & must admit I did have a few moments of self-doubt wondering what the hell I was doing there! I'd guess there were around 80 or so people in front of me. Lot of speeches ensued, looked like some local dignatries were dragged out but eventually it was time to get going. There was a count down from 10 & then the guns, all three of them, went off.

    The guy pacing must have walked up the side of the other runners before the start because when I went to look for him, he was already around 25m in front of me so my first km was run faster than I wanted to catch up with him. Once I was in tow things settled down, there were ~20 people in the group. Aid stations with all sorts of stuff popped up every 5km with a water station in-between them so you were never too far from a drink. It was plastic cups for the water which were a bit ackward to handle. I had four of the GU gels in my belt which I planned to take at 8, 16, 24 & 32k with an extra one in the pocket of my shorts just in case, as well I'd planned to take a drink at every water station.

    Everything went fine & I felt pretty comfortable as we passed the half way stage to start our second lap of the course. At the back of my mind I knew that half way in a marathon isn't 'til 20m so I wasn't counting chickens just yet. By now our group had dwindled to around 15 runners. We passed through 30km and still things were ok, at this stage we'd caught and passed a few other runners, was thinking it must be tough for them when the pacing group went by particulary if they were aiming for the sub-3 time.

    Things stated to get tough for me around the 38km stage, around three people in the group obviously felt good so pushed on and a few more fell off the back leaving four of us running with the pacer. It was around then that I started to struggle, it wasn't a huge drop off but I could see a gap opening up that I wasn't able to close. Thought I'd slowed down a lot more but when I checked the Garmin times, it wasn't as dramatic as I expected. But still the effect was the same I was being slowly dropped. The next five km were pretty tough & was wondering if maybe I should have taken the spare gel as a boost but deicded it was too late at that stage.

    As the pacer was aiming for 2:59 figured there was still a sporting change of making it sub-3 so was anxiously waiting for the finish line to get into my sight. Eventually I turned a corner & there it was in front of me! My watch said 2:59:30 so that gave me one final burst of energy. The other three in the group were just crossing the line but the pacer stopped & stated shouting back at me, as well there was a screaming commentator who was encouraging me in German cause I was the last person who had a chance to come in under 3 hours so made one last big effort to get to the line. Pressed the stop button when I heard the beep on the mat & was amazed to see 2:59:50 on the watch, I'd made it!

    Took a few mins to recover but then I tracked down Christian (the pacer) & thanked him in my pidgin German, of course he turned out to speak perfect English! Met up with my friend & drank a bottle of slimfast as seemed the quickest way to get some nourishment into myself.

    Splits were:

    10 km 00:42:30
    1. Halbmarathon 01:29:29
    2. Halbmarathon 01:30:21
    Zielzeit (Netto)02:59:49

    Garmin track is here.

    All in all very pleased with how it went, I took a chance & it paid off. The P&D plan worked very well for me so I'm going to try it again for Berlin next Sept but will stick to the pace I train for this time. One thing I can definitely say is that the miles I put in last year have made a big difference as five mins after the race I felt fine as opposed to feeling near death when I finished in Cork last June!

    Roll on September :)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,496 ✭✭✭ Oisin11178

    You can pick me up off the ground now if you want. Thats just amazing. I need more details mate about your training and what your 10 mile times were. Usually 99.99% precent of guys who decide at the starting line to go for a goal fall apart.
    Just looked up your times for mallow and ballycotton. Not surprised you got sub 3.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,841 ✭✭✭ opus

    Oisin11178 wrote: »
    You can pick me up off the ground now if you want. Thats just amazing. I need more details mate about your training and what your 10 mile times were. Usually 99.99% precent of guys who decide at the starting line to go for a goal fall apart.

    Being totally honest, I was a bit surprised myself as well ;)

    Wish it was as dramatic as deciding on the start line but actually it was the week after the Mallow '10' that I decided to chase the sub-3 pacer so I changed the training paces slightly for the three weeks before Leipzig. The first time I admitted it to anyone was at Sonia O'Sullivan's training camp for CCM two weeks beforehand when she asked everyone to write down their marathon goal time, actually writing it down made it more concrete for me I think.

    The training plan I followed was the standard P&D 55 mile/week plan that I photocopied from a book that someone left lying on a shelf at work. Followed it fairly rigorously, for the LSR's that didn't involve any MP running, I split them into three running the first third at MP+20%, the middle third at MP+15% and the final one at MP+10%.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,682 ✭✭✭ tHE vAGGABOND

    How many times have I visited this forum, and never seen this thread until today :)

    Shows how effective stickies are :pac:

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,492 ✭✭✭ Woddle

    How many times have I visited this forum, and never seen this thread until today :)

    Shows how effective stickies are :pac:

    It probably should be a sticky in training logs. Going to move it and I'll leave a link here for the next week.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17 Cork boie

    been reading these and found them a great help to me soooo........

    brief history;
    46 year old male, running since 2007, 4 marathons now run...
    paris 2008- 4.50.xx.....knee went after 3 miles,basically hobbled around
    chicago 2009- 3.44.32....
    berlin 2010- 3.30.52....scrapped bq here.
    boston 2011- read on........

    followed my trusty hal higdon plan, advanced 18 week . tempos and fartlecks tend to injure me so i do them sparingly, i just shovel extra miles a virus week before race and went to doc to get antibiotic...
    didnt run at all the last week....
    arrived boston sat 4pm, did expo sunday morn, collected bib, got suckered into buying some gear, as you do, .....went to finish area to take pics and soak up atmosphere...great buzz around the place......getting nervous now......
    set alarm for 4.45 am sun morn.....woken up by mobile at 4.20am.....friend wishing me well.....grumbled thanks...... back to sleep......
    up 4.45 am, breakfast of bagel,yogurt,banana, the t to boston common to get the shuttle buses to start area at hopkington....stepped out of the t staion into the biggest que i have seen since standing in a field with a couple hundred other ejits waiting to use the one usable portaloo left at the "trip to tipp" gig back in the day.....took me an hour to get on a bus and then another hour journey to hopkington....huge athletes village.....drinks,energy bars,massages available.....found a quiet area to chill out and try and stay warm....munched a bagel and sipped water.....nervous now......time to go to start pen...check gear, gels, laces, garmin.....garmin? 405 was dead,maribh,deceased,not friggin working.....tried everything, reset, hard reset, violence,cursing, to no avail....the bloody thing decided to stop couldnt make it up....ok, ok, dont panic, think......i have no pace bands, no watch.....there are no pacers at to pace myself....ok, i'll calculate from time on clock as i pass start line and at each time station from then on....a pain in the ass but it would have to do....hoping to do 3.20 ish.....wave 2, corral 4, and we're off!...
    the first bit is uphill and then a good bit need to dodge or weave here.....runners are really motoring.....decided to get into a nice easy stride and not push it early on....****e, forgot to look at time at start!!.....ah the hell with as you was sunny and pleasant if a little to 13 m iles feeling idea what time or pace i was doing.....felt like shouting out, anybody going for a 3.20 ish time....can i tag along wesley college the noise was deafening.....hoards of girls screaming, signs with kiss me.....saw one particularly tempting sign...." free bj"......hmmmmm.....sorry luv..aint got the time...gulp down a gel.....mile 15.....starting to hurt....sweating profusely....mile 16.....feeling sick, dizzy.....the hills are getting relentless now....stay focused....ignore the pain.....i know heartbreak hill is coming......mile 17....another godamn hill...mile 18.....people are passing me in droves.....jesus that guy looks bout 70 and he just flew by....mile19....mile20...hurtin bad....dont stop....keep going..force down another gel....mile 21.....turn a corner and there sits EVEREST!........heartbreak hill finally shows her aint pretty......jesus, this thing looks like a down hill ski run at the feck am i to scale this....grit teeth and begin the ascent.....dont stop, dont stop,...maybe a little rest would be good....yeessss my precioussss.....a rest would be hurtssssss...jus a little resteeesss...out, damn you!..begone!..........i struggle on and even try to pick up the pace....mile 22....marshall shouts 3 miles to go buddy!.???.....if i had the energy i would have ran back to the guy and told him to move down the friggin road!......mile 23.......mile
    tired.....mile 25....mile 26.... where is the finish line ?......turn a corner and praise the lord.....try and up the pace...probably looked like a drunk kangaroo......remember to smile for cameras......and.........yesssss!!!!!!....
    never ,ever, felt as bad after a run......can hardly talk....keep moving through finish area...collect medal....collect bagel and distracted nearly ate medal and wore bagel around my neck.....remember eying a marshall with an empty wheelchair......found a quite corner and slowly changed into dry gear......felt a little better after about 30 mins....still no idea what time i on t to accomadation where i looked up finish time on pc............................................3.47.43.. first half at 8min mile pace...last 10 miles my times collapsed....
    ..left boston airport that evening, 8.50pm flight home ......feelin good..just dissapointed about time but hey......i ran the boston marathon.!!!!!

    as i write this i am already looking forward and intend to do the dcm...funny how quickly you forget the pain, eh ?.......looking back the virus took it out of me more than i thought it would......but theres not much you can do at that stage is there ?.......i thought a 3.20 ish time was on based on a 22miler at 8min pace i did 2 weeks before race....i felt good and strong after it.....i had done 10 milers and halfs at 7.10 pace feeling good after each.......looking at my training log i noticed i missed 9 days through various injuries and 10 days through illness.....maybe that told in the end ...i dont know....but im good to go again!.....bring it on!:D
    hope you enjoyed this rambling account of my experience.......
    cork boie:)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,548 ✭✭✭ Marthastew

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading your report, I imagine it was the virus that affected your time, however you were so lucky to make it to Boston (first qualifying then recovering from the virus). I was lucky enough to make it to Boston last year, nowhere like it to run a marathon. Well done, congratulations:)

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 17 Cork boie

    thanks marthastew ...........wasnt sure i should post my race, as the race times in other posts are fantastic but hey, for all my fellow grinders out there, never give up !!;)

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,496 ✭✭✭ Oisin11178

    Cork boie wrote: »
    thanks marthastew ...........wasnt sure i should post my race, as the standard in other posts is fantastic but hey, for all my fellow grinders out there, never give up !!;)
    very funny report, enjoyed reading it:D

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,145 ✭✭✭ baza1976

    How many times have I visited this forum, and never seen this thread until today :)

    Shows how effective stickies are :pac:

    I was just going to post the same comment

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,552 ✭✭✭ bryangiggsy

    I signed up to do this race in July as I was late starting training this year and want to get a bit in before the race came around. The race was held in Aix en Provence about 15 miles from Marseilles and 90 miles from Nice. Because Aerlingus stop flying to Marseilles at beginning of September I went down the route and flew into Nice. I booked my own flight however the hotel and transfers Nirvana took care off. Transfer time was about 1hr 40 min s from Nice and my hotel Saint Christophe was in the center of Aix about 200m from the finish line. The race organisation was excellent. Very professional from start to finish. It was run by triangle events who I believe run IM Austria & IM Nice so anyone who has done these events will know what to expect. I registered fri night and on Sat morn rode my bike about 23k out to the lake. It was a split transition with T2 in the center of Aix. Race morning we were bussed out to the lake with no problems at all.

    Race start.

    Carnage. There was no gun at all. Tape went up and people entered the water busted thru the canoes and started swimming. First few hundred metres were brutal. I moved out right and got some open water in front of me and put the foot down. Pretty uneventful from there apart from a few smacks in the face. Exited the water in 27.47 which was a little on the fast side for me. I normally swim 25-26 mins 1500m so I feel the swim may have been a couple of hundred short.

    T1 was long as there was an 800m run from the lake to the transition. Got in and changed quick enough and out on the bike. T1 5.48

    The bike. Quite possibly the hardest bike course I have ever rode. The first 10 k I was moving along well on the flat at 35k an hour and thought if this keeps up im in for a good time. My hr dropped below 150 and I though perfect but then the climbing began and kept going and kept going….. Average grade was 8-10% and on one of the climbs it hit 14% for 500m. It was carnage. All the climbs were very long Its very hard to describe but I have never encountered climbing like it. The descents were insane and extremely technical and I just could not make the time up. Overall over the 90k the climbing profile was 1302m altitude change. To put this into perspective IM Nice one of the hardest IM’s in the world climbing altitude over 180k is 1800m altitude change. We went over 1302 m in just 90k going over 5 cols . My hr on the climbs was 171 which was not good and I had no more gears left. I got off the bike in 3.04.59 and got ready for the run. HR average on the bike was 155 about 7 bps higher than what I wanted and I did not feel fresh for the run unlike Frankfurt last year

    T2 was also long from bike drop off to bag pickup but I managed to get out as quick as I could . I started of at 4 30km pace and held this for as long as I could. The run was a 7k 3 loop course with 2 climbs on each loop. By lap 3 I was hurting and walked thru each aid station to get nutrition on then started running again. I buried myself on the last 3k and left noting out there crossing the finish line in 5.15.46 with a run time of 1.35.

    Overall I was delighted as even though its not a pb course I have not done a harder triathlon . Again the race organisation was second to none and if your looking for a challenge this triathlon is the one to sign up for. Myself been there done that and got the t shirt I wont be back.
    Bryan H